Press-Republican

Gast

April 10, 2011

Apple trees require special care

I have an old apple tree in the yard. It bears fruit, but the apples are small, misshapen and scabby. What can I do?"

Sound familiar? If there is one thing this North Country has plenty of, it's apple trees that haven't been pruned, sprayed or maintained in any way, shape or form, for years.

If they are going to produce quality fruit, apple trees (or any other fruit trees, for that matter) require regular maintenance. Pruning is fundamental. In fact, most commercial orchard owners will tell you that no other practice will improve the health and well being of fruit trees more than proper pruning at regular intervals.

Appropriate pruning can quickly restore the vigor of an older tree or aid and support young saplings with their development. And employing proper pruning practices will increase the yield and improve the quality of the fruit that trees in all stages of growth produce.

At the same time, selectively pruning out weak limbs will enable the tree to better support more bountiful loads of fruit. Suitable pruning also reduces the likelihood of pest problems, and makes any tree easier for its owner to work with.

Rejuvenation of older, overgrown trees is accomplished by first reducing the tree's overall height. This can be achieved by removing no more than one or two of the tallest limbs. Once this is done, you can prune the rest of the tree the same way that you would any other yard or orchard tree.

Pruning of trees consists of removing dead, damaged, diseased and insect-infested limbs, as well as waterspouts (which grow quite rapidly, produce no fruit, and greatly reduce exposure to sunlight at the center of the tree) and suckers that are growing up from the roots or from the base of the tree.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Gast
  • Gast_Richard.jpg Bee balm a beautiful garden herb

    Not only to the flowers add color to the summer landscape, the plant has a long history of medicinal and herbal use, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Drip irrigation has many benefits

    The system targets the correct amount of moisture directly to plants while not washing away nutrients, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Climate assessment a cautionary tale

    Major impacts of global warming will have a profound impact on the region's future, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Be a locavore

    Farmers markets offer easy way to support local agriculture, maintain a nutritious diet, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Raised-bed gardening workshop offered

    Cooperative Extension may have a better way to conveniently grow vegetables, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Asparagus offers a taste of spring

    Cultivation of widely grown delicacy goes back to ancient times, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    May 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Maple sugaring season is underway

    Climate change has generally pushed back the season, but this year has been an exception, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Seed-starting workshop offered

    Cooperative Extension offers everything you will need to start a successful garden from scratch, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Addiction to energy has costs

    Damage to environment, climate change just two of the problems caused by runaway energy consumption, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 9, 2014 1 Photo